ACC teams and athletes have claimed dozens of national championships in multiple sports throughout the conference's history. Generally, the ACC's top athletes and teams in any particular sport in a given year are considered to be among the top collegiate competitors in the nation. Also, the conference enjoys extensive media coverage. The ACC was one of the six collegiate power conferences, which had automatic qualifying for their football champion into the Bowl Championship Series (BCS). With the advent of the College Football Playoff in 2014, the ACC is one of five conferences with a contractual tie-in to a "New Year's Six" bowl game, the successors to the BCS.
The ACC was founded on May 8, 1953 by seven universities located in the South Atlantic States, with the University of Virginia joining in Early December 1953 to bring the membership to eight. The loss of South Carolina in 1971 dropped membership to seven, while the addition of Georgia Tech in 1979 for non-football sports and 1983 for football brought it back to eight, and Florida State's arrival in 1991 for non-football sports and 1992 for football increased the membership to nine. Since 2000, with the widespread reorganization of the NCAA, seven additional schools have joined, and one original member (Maryland) has left to bring it to the current membership of 15 schools. The additions in recent years extended the conference's footprint into the Northeast and Midwest.
ACC member universities represent a range of well-regarded private and public universities of various enrollment sizes, all of which participate in the Atlantic Coast Conference Academic Consortium whose purpose is to "enrich the educational missions, especially the undergraduate student experiences, of member universities".
The Wake Forest Demon Deacons are the various sports teams of Wake Forest University. Originally, Wake Forest's athletic teams were known as the Fighting Baptists, due to its association with the Baptist Convention (from which it later separated itself). However, in 1923, after a particularly impressive win against the DukeBlue Devils, a newspaper reporter wrote that the Deacons "fought like Demons", giving rise to the current team name, the "Demon Deacons".
Wake Forest has won a total of eight national championships in four different sports; four of these championships have come since 2002. Wake Forest is sometimes referred to as being a part of "Tobacco Road" or "The Big Four", terms that refer to the four North Carolina schools that compete heatedly against each other within the ACC; these include Duke University, North Carolina, and North Carolina State, as well as Wake Forest.
Wake Forest's football team competes in the Atlantic Division of the ACC and plays its home football games at BB&T Field. It is the third-smallest school in FBS in terms of undergraduate enrollment (behind only Rice and Tulsa) and is by far the smallest school playing in a BCS conference. Since the start of the 21st century, the Deacons have been mostly competitive. Wake Forest was ranked in the Top 25 in the nation by the AP Poll during most of the 2006 season when it won the 2006 ACC Atlantic Division Title and the 2006 ACC Conference Championship by defeating Georgia Tech 9-6 on December 2 in the ACC Championship Game. The win sent Wake Forest to the Orange Bowl to play future ACC member Louisville. This made Wake Forest the smallest school to ever compete in the Bowl Championship Series. For his part in the record-setting season, coach Jim Grobe was unanimously selected ACC Coach of the Year, and handily won the AP Coach of the Year award several weeks later.
Frank Beamer (born October 18, 1946) is an American football coach and former player. He is currently the head coach at Virginia Tech, a position he has held since 1987. In 25 years at the helm of VT, his overall record is 209–98–2 (.680), making him far and away the winningest coach in school history. Beamer's teams are often known for the scoring ability of the defensive and special teams and since his first season in 1987, a player at every position on the defensive unit has scored at least one touchdown, while 35 different players have scored touchdowns on Virginia Tech's special teams.
Beamer's teams have made 19 consecutive bowl appearances, and Beamer has gone 8–11 in those 19 bowls, including 1–5 in BCS bowls and 1–1 in BCS-precursor Bowl Alliance bowls. During the bowl streak, Beamer has amassed a record of 185–58 (.761). His teams have won three Big East championships and four ACC titles. Beamer was named the ACC Coach of the Year in 2004, his first year competing in the conference. He repeated as ACC Coach of the Year in 2005 while leading his team to the ACC Coastal Division title and an appearance in the inaugural ACC Championship Game. He is currently the winningest active coach and longest tenured coach in Division I FBS.